About

The Idea

LIFE RESILIENT FORESTS project is about improving the resilience of forests to climate change, enhancing resilience to wildfire, environmental degradation and other climate-induced disturbances.

Objectives

  • The first objective of LIFE RESILIENT FORESTS is to develop a Decision Support System (DSS) for forest managers, which introduces them to the climate change adaptation processes. This system will comprise updated management practices on the watershed scale and climate change-related issues. The support system will be then demonstrated on two levels, sub-catchment and catchment, in Germany, Portugal and Spain. At each location the DSS will be modified by involving the relevant stakeholders.
  • The project also plans to develop a complete monitoring system, including a Life Cycle Assessment of the forest management approach, that will demonstrate the positive environmental impact of the project, as well as its socioeconomic impact.
  • A further objective is to develop a strategy for transferring management approaches around Europe and to organise networking activities to facilitate the transfer of information on forest management and climate change initiatives.
  • The project will contribute to the Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy by 2050, as well as 2020 Energy Strategy targets and the EU’s strategy on adaption to climate change, among other EU policy areas.
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Actions

Sustainable forest management

Updating and modelling of the forest management plan of the Municipality of  Serra in Spain

Refining forest-water-soil-climate-fire relationships under different management intensities

Decision Support System – DSS

LIFE Resilient Forest will develop a system to introduce climate change adaptation strategies in forest management across Europe. This tool will be based on a successful approach already adopted by the municipality of Serra.

Demonstration

The support system will be adapted to different conditions and demonstrated at three locations in Germany, Portugal and Spain, both at sub-catchment and at catchment scale.

Replication

A replication strategy will be developed for transferring to other municipalities and watersheds in Spain, Portugal and Germany.

Monitoring

The project will conduct a complete monitoring of the impacts, including a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the system, to prove the environmental soundness of the approach and its socioeconomic effects in rural areas.

Networking

Networking activities will be developed so the project can take advantage of other successful initiatives related to forest management and climate change, and to facilitate the transfer of information. It will carry out a wide dissemination action to reach out both public and private stakeholders and to achieve a positive impact on regulations and policies for forest management across Europe.

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Expected results

  • Demonstration and replication of a successful, innovative forest management scheme at a watershed scale. At the beginning it will be applied at sub catchment level in Spain (415 hectares), then at catchment level in Germany, Portugal and Spain (7,824 hectares) and finally it will be further expanded up to 350,000 hectares within five years from the project completion.
  • Reinforcement of mechanisms to develop climate change adaptation measures in rural areas and to ensure its socioeconomic sustainability;
  • Increased water reserves of 45-200 l/m²/year and increased water availability downstream, leading to a reduction in energy extraction costs to 5 W/hm;
  • Increased sustainable biomass production for bioenergy uses, between 10 and 15 t/ha year, including both forest and agricultural residues traditionally burned and usually the cause of wildfires.
  • Reduced fire hazards by 30%, protecting rural populations currently residing in risk areas
  • Increased resilience of 25% of forest areas to withstand droughts, pests and disease outbreak.

Partners

The research team at IIAMA of Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) has extensive experience with forest hydrology, forest restoration, soil biogeochemistry and water transport modelling. The research of these topics is centred on the need to obtain the hydrological criteria to manage and to understand Mediterranean Forests. Likewise, the team has wide experience on the development of hydro-economic models with applications to issues like water-energy-land-climate nexus, river basin management, groundwater and conjunctive use management, water markets, climate change impacts and adaptation, water economics, and water conservation in urban uses and in irrigation.

The Association for the Development of Industrial Aerodynamics (ADAI) is a non-profit private institution created in 1990 and associated to the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the University of Coimbra. ADAI promotes activities of research, development, demonstration, training and monitoring services to the industry. The Forest Fires and Detonics (FFD) research group of ADAI applied research on forest, urban and industrial fires, and energetic materials.

European Biomass Industry Association (EUBIA) is an international non-profit association which gathers together market actors, technology providers, and knowledge centres, all of them active in the field of biomass. The main objective of EUBIA is to support the European biomass industries at all levels, promoting the use of biomass as an energy source, developing innovative bioenergy concepts and fostering international co-operation within the bioenergy field.

Jülich Research Centre will provide climate projections for all the research sites in the project. In addition, for the TERENO-site Wüstebach ecohydrological model simulations are made for past, present and future, forest ecosystem parameters will be estimated, and the impact of climate change on groundwater recharge and biomass production will be evaluated and a contribution to the decision support system will be given. The developed methodology in Germany will be tested on other, forested, LTER-sites across Europe.

The municipality of Serra covers an area of 5,730 Ha, with 95% of this territory lying within the Sierra Calderona Natural Park and 85% being forest. Serra’s biomass management project began eight years ago as an environmental bet, turning green waste coming from gardening, into solid fuel used in a 35 kw biomass boiler to heat the municipal nursery. The project allows economic savings for the municipality and has positive collateral effects in terms of protecting the environment, reducing pollution and creating job opportunities.